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Damascus council betrays citizens' trust

Having seen the results of the May 20 primary election, it defies my understanding that the Damascus City Council could consider moving forward with any of the failed comp plans.

CHRIS HAWESEach was soundly defeated by a wide margin. The council’s agreement was to forward a plan with the most “yes” votes if it didn’t reach the double majority.

To now forward any plan that was so clearly rejected is yet another in a long line of arrogant moves by a council seemingly devoid of any sense of responsibility to the people of the Damascus community.

After Steve Spinnett led the effort in May 2011 to vote down the comp plan passed by council in 2010, he wrote of the “lopsided” defeat of the plan as a message to the council to reflect on: “... where the city has gone wrong. Where has the city strayed from what the citizens (you) wanted? Has the city become out of touch? Are you being listened to?” (Northwest Connection article June 2011)

The 2010 Comprehensive Plan was defeated by a 65 to 35 percent margin. Fast forward, the mayor’s plan was defeated May 20 by an even wider margin, and yet he sees no similar defeat, no need for reflection, no concern that the people are not being listened to. All Spinnett sees is his desire for his plan to prevail, no matter what the people say.

The comments from Jim De Young about Tuesday’s election have likewise been lacking in any acknowledgment that the people firmly rejected his plan, his arguments, and his campaign for its passage.

It is beyond comprehension that any elected representative would advocate placing “the best loser” on another ballot. Our representative democracy does not award victory to a defeated issue simply because it didn’t lose as badly as some other.

The Damascus City Council has betrayed the trust of the citizens, and now represent their own craven wishes. If the actions of the council serve no other purpose, it is to illustrate what happens when elected representatives decide that they are the arbiters of the people’s future, and the people can, and will be ignored.

History tells us that when elected officials make that decision, the backlash from the people is usually brutally quick, and very severe. Damascus is likely to be no different.

Chris Hawes is a Damascus resident and member of Citizens for Disincorporation.



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